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The words AI, machine learning, blockchain etc are used ad nauseam nowadays. Ever wondered as to what exactly is blockchain and how is it useful? Well blockchain is a distributed, digital ledger of transactions. It’s a network of computers that securely logs every transaction done in the chain, prevents any meddling with the logs and enables organizations to verify the transactions that take place. It is quite secure.
So, how does blockchain execute this? Every block is attached together at a batch of the transaction which is timestamped. This is then incorporated in the blockchain. Every block has been assigned a signature. And, all these blocks are back-linked, i.e., they refer to the signature of a previous block in the chain, and that chain can be tracked all way back to the very first block. This way blockchain captures record of all the transactions executed. This record is cannot be edited.
Let’s now cast a look on the main feature of blockchain: The blockchain is a distributed database which means that the database is present in multiple copies across various computers. These computers create a peer-to-peer network or a P2P network. It means that there is no one centralized server and the blockchain database is put up across a decentralized machine network wherein each computer works as a node on that network.
Now, the data regarding all new transactions must be sent to all the nodes on the networks. This helps to keep the blockchain in sync like one ‘worldwide ledger’ instead of numerous ledgers. This implies that for updating the blockchain, these multiple copies should be coordinated so that they all have the same version. New blocks are developed by the process termed as “mining” that verifies the new transactions and adds these into the chain.
E-learning primarily deals with teaching, learning and verifying of new skills. These skills are presented by organization as digital certificates or badges to the learners which are then accepted by third party i.e employers and educational institutions. The entire ecosystem rests on verifiability and trust. If a prospective employer does not believe the digital certificates to be genuine it raises a question mark on the learner’s credibility.
Once a credential is recorded to the blockchain, it can’t be altered or faked. If someone attempts to create a fake credential that looks like an issued credential, it won’t verify against the existing blockchain record. Even if the company issuing the credential itself is hacked, the digital credential itself will remain unaffected and secure. This means no more fake credentials. Blockchain shall help verify the credentials of learners in e-learning.
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